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Uncle Rico

Tent Footprints

So just wondering what everyone's views are on tent footprints. Just bought a new one man on Steep and Cheap, but it didn't come with a footprint. Took it out for a test drive last night and in place of a footprint, just used a piece of 2 mil painter's drop cloth. That seemed to work pretty well actually and the weight was right, but the ground was pretty smooth and rock-free and I'm wondering how the drop cloth will fair on rougher ground or on longer trips. Intuitively, a footprint sounds like a good idea, but is it really more advantageous than using a drop cloth that cost $2.98/ 9' x 12' roll at Home Depot? What are the advantages of a footprint (if any) and are those advantages worth the added bulk and cost? What about durability? I suspect you can get away with a drop cloth on a short trip, but a longer trip might suggest a footprint? Appreciate hearing your thoughts.
atomicoyote

I've always just used a piece of plastic drop cloth, too.  Always thought those footprints were way overpriced and no better than plastic sheeting.  Heck, I expect the bottom of a tent to get a few holes in it as it ages, and I just patch those with nylon fabric.  A 9' x 12' plastic drop cloth can be cut up in sections (usually 4 with my tents) so it'll last from spring thru fall.  I use the plastic to try and keep ground condensation from creeping up into the tent (seems to work), but it also gives a little protection to the tent bottom.  If you're really worried about damage, splurge a little and  upgrade to the 4 mil plastic sheeting for about $1.50 more!   Wink
Uncle Rico

Thanks for the input atom. I may get wild and splurge on some of that 4 mil just to compare and contrast. In the meantime, you're confirming what my thoughts are on subject, but didn't know if I was missing something about the superiority of footprints that I hadn't considered. The only other issue that I could think of that might give a leg up to footprints was some nominal insulating effect they might provide, but that's why God invented sleeping pads I suppose.

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